Grand Lake: Glen Tompkins shares his life-long love of music |

Grand Lake: Glen Tompkins shares his life-long love of music

by Cyndi Palmer
Sky-Hi Daily News

Glen Tompkins said it’s impossible to pin-point any particular “time, place or thing that started me down the road to a musical career.” As far back as he can remember, which isn’t far he jokes, music has been the focus of his life.

Although he grew up in a home with no piano, he remembers his mom playing when the family would visit his grandma, and said he was “fascinated by this instrument that could produce all the voices of a musical score.”

Movie soundtracks moved him. He loved Broadway music, and he always tried to catch the old operetta movies on television. The family’s local church was also big on singing hymns with all four vocal parts, he said, so he “became enchanted with vocal music and the intricacies of harmonic structure.”

By the end of his fourth-grade year, he was hooked. During that school year, a rental company demonstrated various instruments, including the saxophone, which caught Tompkins’ attention.

In the seventh grade Tompkins played trap drums with several school buddies who played guitar and needed a drummer.

“Then it happened,” he said, “the Beatles and Stones exploded on the music scene and that inspired us to add vocals to our rock sound.” The group wrote some songs and even made a studio recording of their first single which got some radio airtime.

His career was jumpstarted and after that he expanded as a musician through various bands, solo acts, promoters, agents, financial backers, road tours and studio gigs. Although he hasn’t had his “big break” yet, Tompkins has no regrets. “The whole experience was to be remembered and cherished for a lifetime.”

After a decade chasing the big-time dream, Tompkins met Barbie, “a talented entertainer in her own right.” A kindred spirit in the art world, Barbie had been a professional dancer, stage actress, and was front woman for a folk-rock band at the time the two met.

The couple fell in love, married, and later formed a duet to help with college expenses; and with Tompkins’ music teaching degree in hand, found a home in Grand County. For a little while, Tompkins taught music at West Grand schools, directing the schools’ bands and choirs, and he slowly worked his way back into the limelight. During that time and for almost 30 years, he has lent his talents and passion as the music director for various churches.

It has just been in the last several years that he finally found a good niche performing locally for various venues. He’s played at Mackinaw’s Grill, with local band The Lynch Mob for a little bit, and has played at the Hungry Bear restaurant.

“It is a very fulfilling thing to perform and have people appreciate it for whatever reason,” he said. “Maybe it evokes some old memory, or simply makes one feel happy and better.”

Tompkins, who now plays at The Rapids restaurant, said it is an honor to get to perform in the county.

With music such a big part of his life, he hopes to be singing and playing popular and folk tunes, mixed in with some originals, on acoustic guitar and keyboard at the Grand Lake restaurant throughout the winter season. His current schedule has him set to perform 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday Dec. 21-23 and Thursday through Monday Dec. 27-31.

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